Some LCGB members have been letting us know what they have been doing during COVID to help support the families who may have been affected by changes to services.
ANTENATAL WORKSHOPS ONLINE
The Breastfeeding Education in Pregnancy Project (BEPP UK) is a response by a group of IBCLCs to the suspension of local face to face antenatal breastfeeding classes. In a short space of time they put together a website, social media presence and a 1hr presentation covering ‘Breastfeeding Essentials’. The workshops reflect current good practice and include information about breast physiology, newborn instinctive behaviours, skin to skin and Covid-19. The workshops have been extremely well received and are regularly booked up. BEPP UK have since expanded the workshops on offer to include ‘Breastfeeding Essentials from an Islamic Perspective’ and ‘Supporting your Breastfeeding Partner’ and offer more than 4 free workshops per week.
ONLINE BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT
Several LCGB members volunteer on evidence based breastfeeding support Facebook groups, one of the largest being “Breastfeeding Yummy Mummies” which has over 48,000 members around the world. Four LCGB members are a part of the 25-strong admin team, and several IBCLCs are members and help out on the group.
As the in person breastfeeding groups shut down and the peer support services contracted, as drop in clinics have stopped and commissioned infant feeding team members were deployed into other areas of healthcare, these online spaces have been especially valuable to lean upon for new mothers struggling with various aspects of caring for their babies, connected to feeding.
A group of IBCLC also got together in the first days of lockdown to support a Facebook group” IBCLC Led Support group “. This has enabled parents from around the world to access IBCLC information, general support and signposting with over 2500 parents (and climbing)
More local groups have been set up on social media for parents to access ante natal information and members of LCGB have worked with their local birth practitioners to offer free information and support. “Antenatal and Postnatal Education and Support North East” has brought together a local Midwife, Hypnobirth practitioner and IBCLC to offer a wealth of information and support that was recently mentioned on Radio 4’s Woman’s hour.
A new Facebook Group “COVID-19 Babies Parents Group” was started in response to the clear need for a safe space to discuss the specific issues of being pregnant and becoming a new family during the beginnings of the pandemic taking hold in Britain. This group is facilitated by LCGB members, doulas, holistic sleep consultants, and anxiety specialists. The membership reached over 5000 in just 6 weeks.
Members of LCGB across the country have developed new skills which have enabled parents to access skilled 1-1 support via Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime and many more which has been amazingly supportive to families when most of the standard support given to families has been cut.
Two of the IBCLCs from Nutrition and Nurture were commissioned to deliver a series of 6 Facebook Lives as part of the #activemums project in the Northwest. Covering information for a healthy and active pregnancy as well as how to get breastfeeding off to a good start, the Q&A sessions were aimed at those currently pregnant and got up to 900 views each.
Quote from a mum about one IBCLC, Amanda Dunbar:
“I knew I really needed support with breastfeeding as there was very little help in hospital for new Mums as maternity units were adapting their services to deal with the pandemic. I had planned to go to a local breastfeeding cafe but all of these were suspended.
It was Easter weekend and a local lactation consultant referred me to Amanda and she could offer me a video consultation the next day. The whole process was really simple, you wouldn’t have believed we lived at complete opposite ends of the country.
She helped me perfect the latch using a nipple shield and as a new Mum gave me the support and encouragement I needed with a new born.
At our follow up recently we started the process of weaning from the shields and Amanda was able to see clearly in to our daughters mouth and said she suspected a tongue tie. This was confirmed at her 8 week check with the GP. The saving grace of the video consultations is there is time for the Mum and the baby to thoroughly discuss issues and solutions which we didn’t have at our community appointments with the midwife and health visitor.
I absolutely would recommend the video consultations and Amanda as this is what saved our breastfeeding journey.”